Thursday, 1 December 2011

Singapore working language is English? (Part 2) - 10-12% of Singapore population are Chinese immigrants.

In the past 20 years, nearly 600,000 Chinese immigrants arrive in Singapore.  This is bigger than the population of Ang Mo Kio and Toa Payoh put together.  Of course, it is also bigger than the population of Brunei.

A study report from China’s Xiamen University Nanyang Studies Institute also estimates that it is 10-12% of our total population. 

The Dean of the Institute, Prof. Zhuang Guo Tu, in a forum in Shanghai pointed out that since 1990, after the establishment of Sino-Singapore diplomatic relationship; Chinese immigrants have arrived in Singapore in great number. From the 10-year period of 1990-2000, the number of Chinese immigrants is more than 230,000. From 2001 to 2009, the number is at least 300,000.   

According to Zhuang, there are 4 types of Chinese immigrants in Singapore: professionals and students, ordinary skill workers, investors and labourers.  In addition, there are also immigrants through marriage, illegal means and self-employed persons.  

If we based on the 2007 blue plan of Singapore’s population in 2030, the total population will reach 6.5 million.  To obtain this number, in views of the low birth rate and to maintain 75% Chinese population in Singapore, by 2030, Singapore will need to import 1.2 million Chinese race immigrants.
Of course, not all of them are from China. 

Zhuang also gave another figure: In the past 30 years, Singapore has a net immigrant number of 1.64 million. Most of them are Chinese from Malaysia and China. Perhaps, this explains why our population increases to more than 5 million.

The above figures show that we need to live with a large number of Chinese and other immigrants now and in future. And their working languages may not necessarily be in English.  For the next generation of Singaporeans, it is always beneficial to know another working language, in addition to the common English language.   Otherwise, you may have to restrict your movements, activities and selection of friends in Singapore.

It will also help to maintain better social and racial relationship by knowing another language.  The future of Singapore is quite different from now, especially very different from the 1980s. We need to face the reality of immigrants and their working languages. And in future, even there is a change of government; it will be hard to turn around the clock.  The most the new government can do is to slower down the process of immigration as what the PAP is doing it now (not sure?). 

The Shanghai forum also discloses that there are about 50 million overseas Chinese.  In the beginning of 20th century, there were 4 to 5 million overseas Chinese.  It increased to 12-13 million in the early 1950s and 90% of them were in Southeast Asia. By 2007-2008, there were 45.43 million overseas Chinese.  However, the percentage in Southeast Asia had gone down to about 73%. The bigger increases are in North America, Europe, Australia, Japan and South Korea etc.

Judging from the speed of increase, there will be more and more overseas Chinese.  Whether they are from Hong Kong, Taiwan, China and even Malaysia, their mother tongue is not English except Singapore

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